Cross Shaped Box
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
By nature I am a feeler. I am a pretty touchy feely kind of guy. I do cry, and have cried, at the end of sad movies. I have cried at an episode of House. I have cried at funerals, I have cried at birthday parties. While I would not call myself a sissy, I do have a soft spot. Emotions to me are like scents and flavors. When I walk into a room I can smell anger, fear, happiness, joy, and sorrow. I can look into someone’s eyes and see how they feel. I also feel for them. I lead a very blessed life and I have not known pain like so many other’s have. However I get close to people and I feel them and live in their world. Unfortunately the world is a very dark and evil place. When man fell creation fell with him. The best analogy that I can imagine is when the old man takes the lamp from inside the Cave of Wonders. Immediately the cave begins to crumble around him, and the entire glory of the cave is brought to naught by a single man’s actions. When man took the fruit the creation crashed, all we have left is a couple of used up relics and a pile of sand. That is a really nice way of putting it. The not so nice way is that we live in a world where the strong crush the weak. Children starve, fathers leave, and people die. Women are raped, priests touch boys, and some of their crimes are never brought to justice. Ponzi schemes ruin lives. (more…)
A hot head is often the subject of a lot of ridicule in today’s popular culture. Anger is often laughed at but if we wanted to be honest with ourselves we laugh because we know anger. Whenever Snooki or Pauly D take a swipe at each other on some boardwalk in Jersey we think that it’s very interesting. However I think that if we are honest with each other we can all say that we have had experience with both anger and seeing anger around us. I would like to say that I am the most peaceful person I have ever met, however I know that I am no stranger to the dark force of anger. To be honest some days I feel like I am living on two sticks of dynamite. Anger is not in and of itself a sin. Anger is a God made reaction to felt injustice. When something is off in the universe the God given reaction is anger. That is why we feel anger when we see reports of child abuse, Ponzi schemes, and politicians that use their power for personal gain. Jesus felt anger. God feels anger. It is important to understand why and how God gets angry, and what happens when he does. That way we can be angry like God is angry, and be peaceful like God is peaceful. God can be angry because he is God. He sets the rules because he is God. He has our best in mind because he is God. Whenever we deviate from his plan he gets angry. We are disrupting his perfect order. The way that he designed things to be is perfect, so when we break that plan we are shattering his perfect order. This makes him angry. (more…)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Mathew 23:27-29, ESV
Oh how this verse strikes fear deep within my heart. Every time I read it the Holy Spirit deeply convicts me. The truth is that I have a heart that is deeply prone to being religious. How I view God’s outlook on my life all too often has more to do with what I think that I have done to make myself appear better. I tend to think more along the lines of someone who is in a beauty pageant than someone who has been adopted by a great king. I worry too much about my sin. I am constantly looking down at myself. It’s not that I have a “self-image problem” in the modern sense, but that I have a problem constantly remembering that the grace God has shown me more than covers the totality of my sin. Even though I would say that I am saved by grace alone, I act as though I am not. Though I am called to run free with grace, I attach a ball and chain to my ankles when I forget grace and pursue religion. You will often see this in my life when I get stressed. When I am hungry, tired, or just overwhelmed my instinct is that God is trying to get me. This bad week is happening because of a few sins. A relationship has gone south because of habitual sins I do. I didn’t get something because I lied to my parents or cheated my teachers. Now if you asked me I would denounce prosperity doctrine as unbiblical, and I could supply several passages that could back up those claims. Deep within my heart, though, I wrestle with what can be called prosperity theology. (more…)
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23, ESV.
I try to keep myself out of my articles as best as I can. I do use a lot of “I” pronouns, but that is simply stress a biblical point. While my faith is personal the principles that define Christianity, which theDispersion feel strong enough to write about, have next to nothing to do with how I feel. As always theDispersion appreciates all emails in which you believe that my personal feelings about a subject have gone against a biblical principle. This series is going to be the most about me that I will probably ever write on theDispersion. However this series is really not about me, but rather about what the Lord has done in me. This series is painful for me to consider and hard for me to write. The deep idols of my heart have been hard to live with, harder to identify, and even harder to write for everyone to see. This series is designed to show you that I am a sinner and that you are not alone in your struggles. It is important for those who write to show their scars. That way those who read can find comfort when they themselves get cut by life. I am not a glass doll, I am not perfect, and God is not done with me yet. The reason why I called this “Cross Shaped Box” is referenced in Luke 9. I have always loved this verse because it means that God understands that we all have crap in our past. The is a heavy burden, a memento of shame. My shames will be exposed in this series. However God takes me with my shame. The verse does not tell us to let our crosses go, or to somehow disassemble our crosses and make them into a bridge so that we can somehow get closer to Jesus. No, God wants us to carry our cross as we walk with him. It is a glad and light burden that I bear, because I know that I carry it with grace and to complete freedom.